Book Review: Noah Official Novelization; Noah: The Graphic Novel; Noah: Ila’s Story
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Noah: The Official Movie Novelization by Mark Morris
Paperback | Kindle
Titan Books | March 18, 2014

Noah: Ila’s Story by Susan Korman
Paperback | Kindle
Titan Books | March 18, 2014

Noah: Graphic Novel by Niko Henrichon, Darren Aronofsky, and Ari Handel
Paperback | Kindle
Image Comics | March 18, 2014

Somehow, I managed to read Noah: The Official Movie Novelization, as well as the Young Adult adaptation Noah: Ila’s Story, and Noah, the graphic novel adaptation all before ever seeing Darren Aronofsky’s feature film, starring Russell Crowe as the title character.

Each of the adaptations has their merits and I found that I enjoyed all three versions. But, which edition is best? Well, that would depend on what type of reader you are.

The story of Noah is one of the more popular biblical stories. In the Bible’s book of Genesis, God speaks to Noah, warning him of an impending flood that will wipe out the world now that humanity is far beyond saving. Noah is to build an ark that will hold two of each living creature, which will survive the deluge and go on to repopulate the earth. In the film, we see Noah having visions from “The Creator” about what is to come and what he must do to survive it. Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their adopted daughter Ila spend nearly a decade preparing for the Flood and with help from The Watchers, fallen angels banished to Earth in the form of rock monsters, build their ark and must defend it against the evil, savage king Tubal-Cain and his masses.

Typically, if I enjoy a film, I seek out its official novelization. For Noah: The Official Movie Novelization, I received an advanced review copy and since I knew it would be a while before I would get to see the film in the theater, I thought I’d just take a little peek at the book. That small glimpse turned into a few hours and after three sittings, I’d read the entire book. That’s a testament to writer Mark Morris, who took Aronofsky’s story and fleshed it out wonderfully. After I saw the film, I realized just how much Morris put into character development and giving us insight into even the smaller aspects of Noah. After reading this, I definitely plan to check out Morris’s original novels.

After reading the novelization, the YA adaptation, Noah: Ila’s Story by Susan Korman arrived and I wondered, why would I read this 128-page version if I’d already gone through the over-300-page adaptation. But, I knew I’d have to review it anyhow, so read it I did, and I was surprised to find that it wasn’t just a rehashing of the official novelization. This version is told from the perspective of Ila, Noah’s adopted daughter, played by Harry Potter‘s Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). I found that in her point of view, some of the more confusing aspects of the story were clarified, which makes sense as this is meant for younger readers.

Most of the graphic violence is omitted from this edition, which is understandable, especially considering that some of the violence is really stomach-turning and becomes difficult to deal with in the official novelization. After reading about Tubal-Cain’s horrific actions and the way his people live their lives, you can’t wait for them to get wiped out in the apocalyptic flood. But while the violence is mostly implied, I was surprised to see that the sexual aspects of the story were left intact. Ila and her adoptive brother grow up to love each other and plan to marry, so there’s a few times where the two profess their love for one another in a very expressive way. Noah: Ila’s Story is a quick read and will definitely appeal to young adult audiences.

Lastly, there’s the Noah graphic novel by Niko Henrichon, Darren Aronofsky, and Ari Handel, and if there’s one reason to read this version, it’s the art. Niko Henrichon, who did the art on Brian K. Vaughan’s award-winning Pride of Baghdad, provides the stunning graphics for this adaptation. I think this version will appeal to most demographics thanks to the beautiful artwork, as well as Aronofsky and Handel’s easy-to-follow script. Also, the characters in the book are not rendered in the likeness of the actors, so this title can stand on its own away from the movie. I read this edition last, so again, you can imagine that at this point I thought I’d know all there is to know about Noah, but the beauty of this graphic novel hooked me in immediately and kept my interested through the over 260 pages.

If you only have time to read one of these three editions, I’d recommend the graphic novel, mainly for the art and that you can read it fairly quickly and get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I’m not big on young adult novels, but if you have a younger reader, this would be good for them, as would the graphic novel. The official novelization gets high marks thanks to writer Mark Morris, but I’d imagine you’d really have to be into the film to invest the time in reading this version. Morris actually wrote a book last year called The Deluge, so I’d imagine it’s really good, since the author seems to really know how to write about floods. If you dig Noah the movie, and want some more insight into the characters and this universe, then you’ll enjoy the highly descriptive official novelization.

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1 Comment »

  1. Do you recommend Noah the movie novelization for a eleven year old?

    Comment by Jean — April 25, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

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